Letters

letters | assisted suicide: a debate is revived

There are sensible reasons why voters rejected Question 2

As the director of Second Thoughts Massachusetts, the disability rights group that helped successfully oppose the legalization of assisted suicide last November, I question Simon Waxman’s sour-grapes assertion that, in part, we turned a “referendum on the rights of the dying into a made-for-TV horror show about abuse of the disabled” (“A fundamental right to be able to die in peace,” Op-ed, July 12).

Massachusetts voters did indeed have second thoughts about Question 2, but for documented, common-sense reasons. All medical treatment can be refused, and effective pain relief is a right. Terminal diagnoses are unscientific guesses — Ted Kennedy was given two to four months to live, but lived for another 15.

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Further, voters were appalled that no family notification was required in the bill. Almost no applicant gets a psychological evaluation. No witness is necessary at the suicide, virtually inviting foul play.

Finances will inevitably affect decision-making. Thousands of Massachusetts elders are abused every year, so it’s naïve to think that all families are loving and supportive.

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Everyone in Massachusetts deserves respect, and everyone deserves good medical care. Dignity does not come at the bottom of a glass of 100 Seconal capsules.

John B. Kelly

Boston

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